Northwestern Events Calendar


NUTC Seminar: "Modeling & Optimizing Paratransit in the Age of TNCs" - Eric Gonzales, UMass


When: Thursday, April 26, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Chambers Hall, Lower Level, 600 Foster St, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Open to the public / no registration required

Contact: Joan Pinnell   847.491.7287

Group: Northwestern University Transportation Center

Category: Academic


Northwestern University Transportation Center presents:


 "Modeling & Optimizing Paratransit in the Age of TNCs"


Eric Gonzales
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Massachusetts, Amherst



Demand responsive transit service for people with disabilities is typically provided in the United States with paratransit services managed by transit agencies, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The cost operating a dedicated fleet of vans and cars for these customers of is rising as more people become eligible for ADA service. First, this talk will present some of the technical tools for modeling demand responsive systems. Data from three ADA paratransit services in New Jersey (NJ Transit), Springfield, Mass. (PVTA), and Boston (MBTA) are used to develop analytical models to relate aggregated operating costs to demand volume and service area by estimating required vehicle fleet, vehicle miles, and vehicle hours of operations. Second, this talk will present useful application of the model for planning and operating demand responsive transit services, such as those required by ADA. The models are useful for evaluating the effect of service zone configurations on operating efficiencies and demand patterns. These models are also useful for identifying which trips (by location, length, and time of day) would be most cost-effectively served by alternative service providers such as taxis or transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber or Lyft. Insights from studies of NJ Transit and the PVTA will be presented along with questions that are emerging through ongoing work on the MBTA’s pilot program to subsidies TNC trips for ADA paratransit customers.



Dr. Eric Gonzales is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has research experience in modeling urban transportation networks, and his interests are in the operation, management, design, safety, and sustainability of large-scale multimodal transportation and logistics systems. Most of his research has been related to traffic and public transportation in cities using the aggregate network models of traffic and transit operations. Recent projects include modeling and analysis of demand-responsive transportation systems, urban freight distribution, and network traffic control to reduce emissions. His research is published in journals including Economics of Transportation and Transportation Research Parts A, B, and E. Dr. Gonzales is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committees on Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics (AHB45) and Paratransit (AP060). Dr. Gonzales received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006, and earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007 and 2011.




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